Swimmers ready for Worlds racing to begin

21 Jul 2023

The waiting is nearly over for the British Swimming team ready to dive into action at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka. 

When Katie Shanahan gets her programme underway in the Women's 200m Individual Medley on Sunday (23rd July), it will kick-start eight days of competition for the 28-strong British team, back in Japan - the scene of their historic Olympic performance in Tokyo two years ago - and one year out from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Among those looking to make a mark at the Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall A will be Ben Proud, the reigning world, European and Commonwealth champion in the Men's 50m Freestyle - that event gets underway on Friday 28th July, when Lewis Burras will also be involved. Olympic champion Tom Dean won Worlds bronze in the Men's 200m Freestyle last year in Budapest, and his bid for another top-level podium in that event begins on Monday 24th July (the final is the following day), with Matt Richards also lining up in that one.

Dean is racing the Men's 200m Individual Medley (starting Wednesday 26th July) too, while Duncan Scott - Olympic silver medallist in the event - is back on the World Championships stage in that contest after missing last year's competition due to illness, and there is plenty going on for Shanahan - the only British athlete swimming three individual events here with both medleys and the 200m Backstroke - and Freya Colbert, who is contesting the Women's 400m Individual Medley and 400m Freestyle after a fine season so far.

As well as a wealth of major arena experience in the team – with James Guy set to race at his sixth successive World Championships – there are nine Worlds debutants for the GB outfit in Japan, including backstroker Oliver Morgan and butterfly pair Keanna MacInnes and Emily Large. Sadly, Jack McMillan has withdrawn from the team for personal reasons so will not be competing in Fukuoka.

Much focus will also be placed on the relay programme in Fukuoka, with Olympic spots in the relays up for grabs by teams finishing in the top three in each event. 

Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay GOLD good quality Rome 2022
The British Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay team that won European gold in Rome in 2022

The Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay quartet of Dean, Guy, Richards and Scott are set to be back together on an international stage for the first time since that memorable Tokyo triumph, while the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay outfit will look to make history on the opening night of the meet. An ever-improving Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team are also in action on Sunday, with the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle cohort making strides.

At last year’s World Championships, Britain earned a pair of bronze medals in the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle and the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay.

Heats sessions begin at 2.30am BST each day (10.30am in Fukuoka), with finals getting underway at 12pm BST.


Looking ahead to the next eight days, British Swimming Performance Director Chris Spice said: "As ever, the main feeling is excitement among the athletes and staff as we wait to get this World Championship campaign underway.

“Our team has had a great preparation for this World Championships, with some good time together on a training camp in Reims, some excellent racing out at Sette Colli last month and then a really successful holding camp in Kagoshima, both in and out of the water – but now the focus is completely on the arena in Fukuoka and putting in season’s-best performances.

“With one year to go to Paris, we are really looking forward to seeing how our swimmers deliver on the training and preparation they have put in, against the best in the world. The relays in particular will be a really interesting area over the next week, and our efforts in those will be a true reflection of the team.”

The British Swimming team for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan

Freya Anderson

Cameron Brooker

Lewis Burras

Greg Butler

Freya Colbert

Lauren Cox

Tom Dean

James Guy

Kara Hanlon

Medi Harris

Lucy Hope

Anna Hopkin

Daniel Jervis

Emily Large

Joe Litchfield

Keanna MacInnes

Oliver Morgan

Jacob Peters

Ben Proud

Matt Richards

Duncan Scott

Katie Shanahan

Laura Stephens

Luke Turley

Jacob Whittle

James Wilby

Brodie Williams

Abbie Wood